Hi! I’m Hosanna Kummer, a senior in high school, and I live in the beautiful, sunny state of California. I love to dance, I hike often, and I thrive off of good, late-night conversations. And I can consume a lot of dark chocolate.
But if there’s one thing that has absolutely changed my life (yes, even more than chocolate!) and brought me closer to the Lord, it would be learning to live with a heart of gratitude. Gratitude & thankfulness are what I would call keys to living your fullest life & to your fullest potential. Good news, right?
But why is this so important?
Have you ever had that moment where you are almost overflowing with happiness or thankfulness? Perhaps you just got a promotion or a good grade on a test or had a good laugh. It feels like you’re going to burst (and not just because it’s Thanksgiving dinner and you should have worn leggings...)!
In Psalm 100:4, we are commanded to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.
Essentially, David (the psalmist) is encouraging us to approach the Lord with a heart brimming with gratitude, which then gives way to praise. It’s the same overflowing, hard-to-contain feeling. Even the next verse in Psalm 100 is that overflow of praise, “For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.”
I have found in my own life that the easiest way for me to worship the Lord is to start with thanking Him. I can’t HELP but want to praise because I’m so overwhelmed with what He’s done and what He has said! Whether it’s at church or in your bedroom, there’s always room for gratitude. There’s always room for standing in awe of our Father who radically loves us.
In addition to praising the Lord, being thankful eradicates hopelessness, destroys sadness, and disarms discouragement. The Bible talks a lot about the act of renewing your mind, and in Romans 12:2 Paul urges the church to be transformed by the renewal of their mind. That phrase can also be translated as being “inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think!” (The Passion Translation)
By shifting our focus from the world to Heaven’s perspective, we begin to see how He sees. And God is never worried — He’s never concerned about how things are going to work out. He’s not stressed about where you are right now, and He’s definitely not discouraged. Me being thankful gives me a chance to renew my mind and get a new perspective — and gives room for God’s hope, joy, and courage to rule over anything else. And when I thank God for who He is, I begin to see Him for who He is. What’s better than that?
Where do I start?
Start by thanking Him for the ground. No, seriously.
I have a friend, Josiah, who once was having a rough night. He went outside to calm down and to talk to the Lord because his friends inside were involved in a heated argument. He felt hopeless and angry — and he told the Lord so! — but he heard God say, “thank me.” Josiah muttered, “I don’t have anything to be thankful for.” God responded “start with the ground.” Josiah rolled his eyes and reluctantly said “God, I thank you for the ground.” Then it came like an avalanche: “God, I thank you for the grass, I thank you for the trees, I thank you for this house, I thank you for my friends, thank you that I live here...”
When telling this story, Josiah lights up & says he went from victim to victor in two seconds. The simple act of appreciating the gosh-darn concrete ground opened up Josiah’s heart and allowed him to see beyond his present circumstance, and to see how God sees.
Start with the ground. It may sound and feel dumb at first, but I promise that you will begin to feel a difference. As human beings, we were created to glorify God so the gratitude and praise that you unlock by a prayer as simple as “God, I thank you for...” will begin to bubble out of you.